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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 18, 2013 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

The weather in Chicago that week was very much like the weather about half of the country is going through this week - hot, humid, and seriously tropical for the Upper Midwest, Northeast, and Great Lakes Region. We were starting to think, maybe the band all had heatstroke, or just couldn't handle that oppressive, major urban heat sync, Chicago, with it's gentle tropical breezes coming in from the lake - adding to the thick humidity. I still think at times when the dew point is in the 70s, that we are experiencing what Phil used to refer to as "thick air".

. . . and, yes, actually there was much groaning at the time, about how Mickey was slowing everything down to "a bore". There had to be a scapegoat. The band was changing, we were changing . . . and I can now appreciate '76 - '78 with a different perspective. . . . I don't think I'm wired to appreciate the band - with the same love and devotion - from '80 on. Driving home from Alpine Valley or Deer Creek, I would often think of Gilbert and Sullivan's, "love, unrequited love, robs me of my rest".

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jul 19, 2013 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

There's always a trade-off it seems in getting to a "perfect" year of Dead. Meaning there's no such animal, just as the Dead themselves never could be a "perfect" band, and that suits us fine, for the highs almost always outweighed the lows.

In a "perfect" world we would have had 1977's style of precision and power playing to go along with 1976's varied and more exciting set lists. I've grown to like a lot of 1976 shows, especially towards the end of the year when you could see the confidence they would display in 1977 emerging (which is also why I think 12/31 may be the best of all the 1976 shows).

By 1978 I think they were grasping for ways to get beyond the smoothness and "professionalism" of 1977 and sometimes it worked (see April of 1978, especially in the Scarlet>Fire combos, which contain some "best ever" candidates), and maybe the fruition of that effort was Red Rocks 7/8/78--a power and precision show featuring some "WOW! WTF" moments in the set list as well.

Still, if I'm forced a "desert Island" choice of Dead I'm taking 1977 with me, and if I had to narrow it down even further it's Fall of 1977, when the precision remains but the rock and roll throttle also gets opened up more. There's also a little show they played in DeKalb, Ill. on 10/29/77 that always catches my attention.